Got to go out and see a show tonight. Finally. For the first time in forever, I got to go see music and not play myself.
Did that sentence make sense? I assure you it did.
Anywho, tonight Heather picked me up from Amy’s new house and took me out to the Vault to see the Dreamscapes Project. Now, of course, there was the business side – we’re playing there next week, and we passed out flyers and put up posters and whatnot – but it was awesome to go some place and … well, I’d never say that I don’t like being the centre of attention – but I didn’t have to be “on”, which was really pleasant.
The Dreamscapes Project was incredible, as usual. Again, the band is just carried by Keith’s stage presence… well, floor presence tonight. Keith has the energy, and the sheer charisma, as well as the business acumen to REALLY be a rockstar. I was watching him tonight – and there’s part of me that feels very aware of watching him pull strings. There are these visible actions, almost scripted for the sake of the audience – but then tonight especially – I was thinking how I wish I could think things through like he does. He knows what he wants, and methodically he figures out how to make that thing happen. I Love chatting with Keith online, and just imagining the wheels turning in his head.
We also met another act, Infuseon, who met my heavy metal needs. They did a spectacular cover of Tool’s “Sober” and Jimmie’s Chicken Shack’s “Dropping Anchor”. I wish I could’ve opened up and really thrashed aboot in a pleasantly active fashion, but … alas, I am just too reserved.
For those of you concerned – my Father’s surgery, which was supposed to take place several weeks ago, has been postponed and postponed. Tomorrow morning at 5am I’ll be driving him into Washington D.C., allaying fears if I can.
Heather has volunteered to go with me, and she’s a goddess for doing so. I know I wasn’t so kind to a previous girlfriend – and I should’ve been.
In the meantime, I’m scared I’ll screw someting up (what if I don’t notice there’s something wrong because it’s a colour indication?!), and my Dad’s scared of the doctors screwing something up, and my Mom is sick in bed with some nasty cough thing that I BETTER not have caught – and it’s supposed to precipitate nastily on all of us on Tuesday, which could make the drive even MORE Hellish.
It’s been a good weekend. Perhaps one of the first good ones of the New Year. 2004 has lacked lustre so far, as far as I’m concerned. Lots of things have been quite shit. There has been Amy and good music and stew and shooting at cats with Nerf pistols.
I’m frightened, though, of what the week shall bring.
Of course, things might be looking up. An event of cosmic proportions: I dropped a slice of buttered bread – and it landed butter side…. UP!!!
Well, any second now, we’ll be heading off to Philadelphia, but in all honesty, we’ll probably put it off for another day. I worry that this means we’re getting lazy. But on the other hand, we recorded TORCH, Letters from the Front, and new versions of both Matador and Save Berlin over the past few days.
I’m really getting the hang of my MR-8, and recording’s getting very easy, and very cool. I had to hack it’s little code thingie to make it do exactly what I wanted it to – but… smooth sailing after that.
Last night, the world had conspired against us. Last minute things were lost, Magic games were lost, so I had to play again, and devillishly slippery ice had encroached upon the surface of the world…
“Heather – watch out for the ice at the bottom of the drive- oh.”
And so I was discouraged and disheartened and made a half-assed effort to tell Heather we should wait another day. Rather than race all the way to Philadelphia and probably miss sign-up for the open mic we wanted to hit, the slacker in me whispered that we should wait around Maryland for another night.
Thank God Heather slapped me down on that one.
It’s what I need in a partner – when the going gets tough, I often get a little timid and whimpery, and I need the partner who’s going to say “nope – we’re DOING it”… just as I do for Heather on her bad days. So far it’s worked, and we’ve steadily been one another’s inspiration.
Anywho – on to Philadelphia. T’was an easy drive. We were waylaid by traffic just out of Baltimore, and again by a truckfire somewhere in Delaware, but we made it into Manayunk at 10.01pm for a 10pm sign-up, and we got a decent slot.
The Dawson Street Pub – from the moment I saw it, I Loved it. Just from the fact that there were beautiful cars parked around it – with tribal painted hoods and exotic makes. Still decorated for Christmas, it was incredibly inviting, and the interior was packed.
The Dawson Pub caused Manayunk to climb an extra rung on my “places I’d like to Live” ladder.
The music was really great, and – once a particularly noisy table finally left (much to the relief of the regulars) the crowd was a real listening crowd. I was amazed that such a packed room was so attentive. The place definately shot to the top of my list of “coolest venues”, and we pestered the host, “My Cousin Todd” about playing a night there. If we made a couple of friends in the area, we might even do ok.
A fantastic night. I wish we’re gotten to Philadelphia early enough that we could have gone and picked up our benefactor, Shane, and brought him there. It was truly a spectacular night – and Shane would’ve Loved it – but unfortunately, it, like so many other places, is 21+.
A shame that Shane be so youthful.
We need to get him some sort of government pass that allows him into all nooks and crannies of the music world. Something, preferably, which also allows him to bring along a couple of college-aged friends.
We met a couple of really cool people, including Leigh – who played the house piano so’s you didn’t notice the 10 dead keys and the couple that were out of tune – and the host Todd – and a fantastic bass player who I can’t remember the name of off the top of my head but who did a fantastic version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Castles Made of Sand” on bass – all tapping and harmonics.
Despite the joy of the evening, we soon had to retire to Shane’s place, our home in Philadelphia. Parking was Hell, as usual, and 20 minutes of circling only landed us a spot 6 blocks away in an alley, which inspired us to call Shane and gather Ryan to help us get EVERYTHING of value out of the Saturn.
The government pass should also give Shane the power to freely and immediately have cars towed – he’d use his powers wisely, I’m sure…
And we collapsed into the waiting arms of Drexel hospitality. We shot the shit about shit for a couple of hours, before finally retiring at 3am (hey – rockstars have to be responsible, and put their friends to bed – Shane had work in the morning, Ryan had a MIDTERM at 8 this morning, and Ian – well… I’m not actually sure that Ian goes to class – I think he may be lurking around here now…).
I worry, because I think Heather is willing, now, after last night’s conversation, to grab me to come see any monumentally fantastic stool she may happen to produce.
I’m really not sure how down with that I am. I mean – if we start taking photographs, then they’ll end up in the Journal – so … well I guess it’s really the say of the readers… that’s probably a BIT TOO personal for you guys. Yeah?
Please say yes.
I went and looked on a map. Actually it’s NINE blocks. Sheesh, I hate parking in Philly.
Went out and played Donavan’s open mic tonight. It was alright. Not many performers, but a good night. We came back to Shane’s and did our parking space hunt. Found one pretty close to the dorms, but Heather had the hiccups and there was a cop giving a guy a parking ticket across the street. It was awesome. Heather was nervous and rocking the car back and forth and there was a whole lot of ice… and it’s like – shift shift shift (HICCUP) shift shift shift (HICCUP) FUCK!! shift shift…
The skies have taken on an intense density, glowering and threatening, and then doing more than just threatening – now it’s promising, and delivering.
I woke to the sound of rain. I can’t remember the last time I woke to the sound of rain. It’s been snow and ice for so long, just the mundanity of rain seems almost alien.
Despite the oxymoron, I continue to swear that I have a grip on the English language.
The dorm room hasn’t even lit up. You can’t tell that there’s a flaming ball of hydrogen in our skies for the day – it’s just a thorough blanket of grey. I’m hoping the temperature doesn’t fall below freezing – I want a nice easy drive back to Owings Mills.
Long time, no mention – nothing really to mention today, either. I think I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures and narrate a bit to make up for it. We’ve begun to get responses from the summer festivals, and we’re beginning to plan around such things as Pagan festivals in Ohio, and Singer/Songwriter barcrawls in Illinois.
I’ve been really sick for the past couple of days, caught something from Alfred last Tuesday. I helped him carry his drums into the gig that night, and he had something really nasty, and he shared.
So, I brought it home to Mara. And I think we shared it with Janna. The world’s been sick. Mitzi’s had food poisoning, Tyler’s been feeling poorly, Sharif threw up and Jon’s been depressed. Didn’t want to write about THAT… see?
Anywho, many things, including my 29th birthday, which was a whole lot of fun, one of my best ever. A WHOLE lot of Magic – almost nothing better to do when you’re feeling really poorly. Nothing to do but play Diablo and Magic… which, of course, is how Janna probably caught it. Sigh… Pestilence alll over. I sit here writing – Heather’s dad is running around with many a household chore – cleaning and replacing batteries, to the accompaniment of the Beatles. He keeps trying to give me fuzzy hats and camel hair coats – I try to explain…. it’s just not flannel. Sigh.
It turned out the open mic we were playing was actually run by a guy we knew from before – we’d met Rick at the Coffee Club (in Media? I think).
We sold a couple of CDs, and met some cool people – specifically – Dave – the Johnny Cash impersonator. Great Man in Black Covers. Very pleased.
The sound here was gorgeous, but other than that, I was kind of distracted by all the hockey.
Philadelphia didn’t treat us as well this time around, but I think a lot of that was attitude. We, of course, Loved hanging around with Shane, and he hooked me up with a new copy of Diablo II, which made my Life pretty complete, but – we hung around in Maryland because of my father’s cancer surgery, and that was kind of difficult. I’m just so glad that that’s over with. All that’s left is recovery…
“All that’s left” – I know it’s not that simple, but I have to think of it that way lest I just go crazy.
We didn’t get much out of the night – the crowd just couldn’t be distracted from their sporting events, but Soul Plane made up for everything. They were spectacular.
And JUST as both Heather and I were thinking “they could do awwwesome Led Zepplin covers” – they did. Not many bands can pull that off. They’re guitarist, specifically, would be capable of making Jimmy Page look up from his diabolist dabblings and say “whut?”
We came home for my birthday, the night after the gig with Soul Plane… I gloss over the whole me getting the address of the gig wrong, so we advertised the wrong address the whole week we were in Philly – and ended up at the wrong place ourselves… and God – it was a disaster.
But I got the coolest toy that ever existed for my birthday.
A Matrix Sentinal.
Now, the coolest gift EVER was what my Father gave me – successful cancer surgery while at the same time paying off the last of my school debt. It’s taken me 7 years, but it’s finally gone, and it’s an incredible feeling – but it’s harder to photograph.
It has been such a weird month. Back to the Dad in the hospital rambling – I went and visited while he was there, I was lucky enough to have Audrey come with me – and the hospital was dismal.
I don’t expect hospital patients to be cheerful and leaping and throwing back their sheets and jumping from bed to bed or anything – but I expect the damned hospital to be clean, and to be able to really understand the English of the nurses, and for the faucets to work, and for them to clean the spilled Jell-o off the floor. GW Hospital was just a multi-tiered lump of dinge. I was pretty disappointed with its existence in its entirety. Pretty fucking disgusted, to be truthful.
Later that night, we went back to Amy’s house and watched zombie movies and ate ravioli. It was probably my best birthday ever.
We checked out the Funk Box last night. Awesome. I know where I want to play. Somehow, we’re going to go play the Funk Box. Angie Aparo’s going to be there… we want to be there… we want to get into the Funk Box.
The Funk Box, once upon a time, was the 8×10 – a well-known venue with weird interior visibility issues, kind of okay sound, and really decent name recognition…
Their open mic was popular enough that people would line up outside for two hours before doors opened – musicians lined up in the cold, sort of making friends, and then finally rushing the guy who opens the door – cajoling frozen fingers to sign names on the list… I did it a couple of times, but I have no memory of why. I don’t remember it being THAT cool – but there was a sense of community – perhaps just because we were pulled together by our outdoor angst…
I wondered what the Funk Box would be like – and that was the purpose of last night – go check it out. We were scouts. (yes, I know that when I fill the space with text or whatever, that it can get a bit confusing… and so I introduce a new style tonight – CaptionText! whee!!!)
Anywho, the Funk Box is beautiful. Awesome sound, awesome space, awesome stage, awesome fries. I was very happy. We ran into a lot of people I knew from Ellicott City and my time in Baltimore, and met a lot of new people. It looks like it’ll be a very fun place to just hang out – even better to play.
Erf – we played with Firedean tonight. I Love that man. A songwriter that I admire soo much from the performance point of view, and every other point of view as well. He’s just such a fantastic writer. I’m sure I’ve waxed poetic about him before, which is a good thing, because as it’s 2am in a College Park Living room, I’m not feeling terrifically poetic at the moment.
Instead, I’m sitting and listening to a collection of John Williams’ movie scores and being suspicious about a white four-door sedan that keeps hanging out across the street with its lights on. I haven’t lost ALL my Baltimore instincts!
Anywho, it’s always awesome to say that “yeah, we played Iota’s two weeks ago, and … why yes… we’re BACK!!!” It was a flattering invitation.
And what a show! Firedean had a Hell of an opening act – and it sucks, because now I can’t remember their name. Interstellar Velvet or something…? (I better ask Heather – it was InterNATIONAL Velvet) – a sitar and percussion act that caused something of an anomoly at Iota’s – the audience sat down! The whole front of the club was filled with people sitting and sort of… grooving.
The sound was really cool, Rob Myers of Fort Knox Records, was something of a bad-ass sitarist, which I didn’t really know was possible. (I’m already preparing to get a barrage of emails about how “sitarist” isn’t the word…) He fingered it like a bass player or something, with complex double plucking and amazing leads. It was just a wonderful new landscape of droning melody.
The second act was none other than Fire’s girlfriend, Sera – on stage and bellydancing. We’ve gotten to see her before, but usually only accompaning Fire on a tune or two. This was the first time I’ve seen Sera really go at it with the proper music and whatnot – sort of a club-driven, hybrid electronic Middle Eastern sound – she and her partner drove the crowd into a bit of a frenzy with gyrations and pulsings of their… parts.
It’s weird, I guess I’m just conservative enough to feel sort of bad watching the show, but – it must be quite an ego-booster for Firedean. Much like how when Heather and I play together, and I watch guys hit on her, or ask about her… and I’m like “yeah, she’s going home with ME!!!”
Well, I go home with HER, really, but s’ok.
Anywho, the night was awesome even BEFORE Firedean hit the stage. And then when we finally get to the star of the evening, well, I was a little disappointed with how a good deal of the crowd filtered out, but the remainder – I’ve never heard the club so quiet – so attentive. Fire was on rare form tonight – his voice was just beautiful. Firedean had an angel night. – hwah.
I swear that I’ll write more in the morning – and I’ll write from not quite such an exhausted stand-point. I’m dreading pulling this damned fold-out couch out – it’s a great, evil leviathan of couches, and I don’t want to move Heather… but it’s gonna have to be done.
Here goes … (SHOVE – CRRRRRRREEEEAK!!!! CLANK CLANK CLANK – “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD NOOOOOO!!!!”)
Later that Same Day…
Awakening at the College Park home of WDAV – well, if there’s a LEAST convenient time to go to the bathroom, I shall find it. And possibly the LEAST convenient time to suddenly find that the 7-Eleven sub you ate the night before is failing to agree with you, while crashing at a friends’ house, is bloody 7.25am.
This is the time, where perhaps you lie awake for a bit, thinking “maybe I don’t have to go… maybe my sleep-starved body can collapse back in on unconsciousness… maybe it was just the sun that woke me up… maybe… maybe I’d really BETTER GET UP RIGHT NOW!!!”
And no-one else in the house is moving yet, simply your bowels. But you KNOW – at 7.25am, it’s only a matter of time. Anyone with a REAL job, if they’re not up and movin at 7.25am, it’s only because their alarm is set for 7.30am. And what’s the first thing you do when you get up? You head to the friggin bathroom, and the last thing you want to encounter while accomplishing the first thing of your day, is your late-night arrivin’ house-guest already occupying the throne.
Perhaps the benefactor won’t even believe it – I mean – it’s 7.30 in the morning – they got in at 2am or so, why the Hell would they be up and in the bathroom? Maybe the houseguest just left the door shut… it doesn’t lock, afterall – it doesn’t even latch… and at 7.30am, it’s Showertime and minutes are a precious, passing commodity.
This all went through my head, and passed out again quite quickly, as did everything else, so calamity was avoided. I got out of the bathroom, and Partick was up, and not hopping from toe to toe outside of the bathroom, not standing there with towel in hand, ready for his morning ablutions and watching his watch…
and here’s another great mystery solved – the cleanliness of the gay male IS apparently just a very natural state. It’s a stereotype, I know – the gay male is supposedly always well-dressed and well-groomed. Always smelling slightly of something masculine with just an edge of feminine, and never, ever in disarray.
And it’s 7.25am, he hasn’t been in the bathroom at all, and I catch a glimpse of Patrick, apparently rising from bed – immaculate.
I think he’s just perfect 24/7. His face STAYS clean-shaven, his shirts stay wrinkle-free. Women of the world, unite and LAMENT the apparent maintenance-free nature of the immaculate gay male.
Have I offended everybody yet? You shouldn’t be. Remember, I’m just extrapolating on what I see of my friends – they’ll take it as it’s meant – all in good fun, and you bloody well should too.
Hrm, sitting at College Perk, watching Pookie (the cat) eat a plant. I know she’s not supposed to be eating the plant. I just don’t feel like doing anything about it. The strange (Spanish? Italian?) children’s music playing through the house speakers is rising in intensity, and the cat is eating more and more and MORE!!!
Gosh, there’s a lot to take care of in the next week. I’ve got to get my Saturn straightened out before the MVA comes and kills me, or at the very least, takes my car away or something.
Anywho – dreams, dreams. There’s another Heather in my Life now, and I’m not sure where she came from. Heather 1 was a goddess, a woman I dated for a year or so around the turn of the millenium. She was a dancer, and the kindest woman I’ve ever known. Heather 2 is Heather in the band (also a goddess), and Heather 3 (also a dancer, also a goddess – as far as I know) – is someone in the current Rocky cast that Heather 2 and I have admired from afar.
Now, on top of everyone else, there’s a Heather 2.5, who I dreamt of last night. In the dream, she was given history that places her firmly before Heather 2, after Heather 1… and whole new Heather. So strange.
Anywho, I dreamt that Heather 2 actually Lived in a sort of… hidden high-rise. A little apartment building that has seven levels, and I’d never known that there was a seventh level, and it turns out that a couple of years ago, they had another girl named Heather Living in a small apartment on the 7th floor.
So I decide to go explore.
So, up the stairs I go.
The stairs lead me up on to the roof, with a pretty nice view of Baltimore, and I fumble with the key I have to the apartment, and go in to a very nicely furnished room, filled with stereo equipment, covered in dust. The main room also has a large table, lit by an ultraviolet light, with a bunch of random items on it. A pad of paper, a wind-up rubber band airplane, all sorts of stuff.
Into the bedroom – the bed is a simple mattress on a wooden palette – and all along the edges of the mattress are photographs. A lot of them are things I recognize, piles of ilyAIMY cards, photographs that I’ve taken, and large replicas of Magic cards – things I recognize as being from my old house, in Kensington.
I remember being so flattered because she walked off with much of my artwork during the last days of Living in Kensington – during the whole ilyARDsale stuff… but now I had a different take, seeing them all left in stacks, months after her departure – I remembered how I had said “oh yoou’re interested in THIS?” – and almost forced those things upon her… piling her up with my work, hoping for interest, hoping for her acknowledgement.
So here I was, recollecting all of my discarded attempted flirtations.
Heather 2’s parents had told me about how Heather 2.5 had looked at EVERYTHING under UV lights, so I went back into the mainroom, and started examing everything she’d left laid out. At this point, I have some sort of flashback sequence, revealing how the ladder shaft outside the apartment (definately based on a Star Trek Jefferies tube) was used as a place for mobsters to eliminate informers, or something. Images of men having their fingers shattered by large men with aluminium bats…
And the whole thing turns into this weird mystery that she was trying to solve, and that I now try to piece together.
Very weird, more like one of Heather’s dreams than mine. Full of strange false memories and false histories.
It has been a week of impotence. A week of being cut down, cut apart, beaten, and discouraged.
In short, it’s been a week dealing with the MVA.
Monday I went to the County Police. They sent me to the State Police. The State Police fulfilled SOME of my needs… but then I had to go to a State Inspection Facility. They didn’t feel the need to deal with me… by Wednesday I was back at the County Police (their album of the day was “Look What the Cat Dragged In” – by Poison) and then everything was set… I was ready…. I was to go to the MVA.
The MVA sent me to the MVA. The bastards. I’ve been to Baltimore County, I’ve been to Carroll County… but the MVA in Carroll County INSISTED that I needed to go to the MVA in Anne Arundel County.
Yes… Glen Burnie. The big one. The mighty MVA – you see… the MVA in Carroll County couldn’t see that there was a signature on a piece of paper saying that my headlight had been fixed and visually inspected… they needed me to go to the Glen Burnie MVA, so that someone could sign the piece of paper that was signed by someone who had seen the headlight, so as to acknowledge that the signed piece of paper had been seen. Once it was stamped… THEN they could see the piece of paper that had now been signed, signed again… stamped and dated and signed and Loved and addressed and…. and whatever else they’d done to it while I’d had my back turned.
Oh, and in order to finish off the Week Where I Could Do No Right… the open mic we were going to tonight… isn’t happening tonight.